It has now been about nine hours as of this writing since Grant Balfour made us all suffer through one of the most epic ninth inning meltdowns in a long time. The anger and irritation has worn off to some degree, and the loss is a loss and it’s time to move on. In seeing the reaction to this loss I began to think more about my reaction to it as compared to that of all other Athletics fans. And I came to one conclusion.
Frustration at losses like this continues to build with every gut punch loss the A’s endure. Each time, the phrase “it’s only one game” tends to work its way into the dialogue between fans. The fact of the matter is this, the A’s have had a number of frustrating losses like this where missed opportunities and big mistakes cost them a victory. So games like this do actually amount to more than just one game. Hopefully though this won’t end up costing the A’s a chance at the postseason.
While the mood in the clubhouse could not have been pleasant after this game, and the flight back to Oakland had to have been rather quiet, this is a team that has a history of overcoming adversity time and time again. Whether it has been injuries, a lack of production from those who were deemed cornerstone players for this team, or any obstacle this team has dealt with; there is always something.
This loss was every bit as devastating as the loss in New York last September where the A’s took a four run lead in extra innings only to see the Yankees storm back and win the game in back breaking walk-off fashion. It was a horrific loss to say the least, but the team picked themselves up and won the next game. It took a lot of character to come back and forget about a loss like that, and this loss will be a major test of this team’s character as well.
They no longer have clubhouse leaders like Brandon Inge and Jonny Gomes who undoubtedly helped steer the team in the right direction especially when times were tough. This year there are no clear leaders for the Athletics in the same sense Gomes and Inge were. Coco Crisp is one name who comes to mind in a time like this. Brandon Moss, who carried the A’s to what should have been a four hame sweep of the Tigers with his four home runs and 10 RBI during the series can step up as a leader off the field as he has on the field.
Without a doubt, this loss is not the end of the world, but it is extraordinarily frustrating and it should be. The A’s, as will all their fans will turn their focus to the Tampa Bay Rays who come to Oakland for a three game series tomorrow. They can’t keep worrying about Torii Hunter, when they have to pay attention to David Price.